Remember that one time I told you I was going to OKC First Ward? That was a joke. Gotcha! I'm actually in Quail Creek, which is really close. :) But I'm so happy and excited to be here!
|Sister Johnson and Sister Clark|
This week has been a crazy one. I already love my companion Sister Johnson - she's super sweet and has a quiet but powerful testimony. (sometimes I think I'm going deaf because she talks so quietly) She's also freaking hilarious. And she's a gorgeous Navajo (I'm so jealous of her hair!), and a dancer. She's in her last transfer here, and then she's off to her home in St. George! We have seven weeks together, so I'm excited about that.
So transfers is always a crazy time, I'm notorious for my food storage, because between that and my harp I always have a lot to pack around at transfers. But I don't feel too bad about it. :)
Saying goodbye to the Langs was definitely the hardest part of leaving. Oh but they had the best surprise waiting for me when I got there! I won't have a picture till sister Durfee sends it to me, but you won't believe it! Sister Lang had her two older boys, Sam and Nephi, dress up like the tenth and eleventh Doctors! Oh I just cried, people! I'll send a picture as soon as I get it. I'm going to miss the Batemans and the Brewers, too! That Sister Brewer took such good care of us. One day Fred (her husband) will be baptized. One day. :)
The best part of this week has been the music. Oh the music! I'm so grateful for the peace and Spirit that music brings. I've been taking my harp with me everywhere it seems like, and I've said several prayers of gratitude that none of my strings have broken with the huge changes in temperature.
First I'll tell you about the Mission Christmas Conference. We had to split in half because the mission is so big - 221 missionaries, can you believe it? I was a little bummed that most of the missionaries I knew were in the other conference session, but I made some new friends and still had a wonderful time. Plus, Mama Leavitt was there and that was just what I needed. She was transferred back to where she was in the beginning of her mission, and she's so excited! But we're pretty close now. She told me some pretty incredible things about Norman, and I just wept. Remember the Jingozians? They're getting baptized on the 28th, and they're so excited! Whenever the sisters would ask them how they're feeling about everything, they would just say, "Well, 'hope the water's warm!" Oh goodness. Such a change from the beginning. And they just feel the Spirit so strongly in their lives. And the ward? TOTALLY ON BOARD FOR MISSIONARY WORK. All of the families have a family mission plan now, and they're just, oh wow, it's the promised land over there. I'm so glad I shotgunned it with SisLeav - I hope I get to serve there again someday. :)
|Alyssa in front of the Elgin Water Tower|
So the Conference itself was very inspiring. There were some great trainings given by the AP's and some ZL's, too, and a wonderful training from President Walkenhorst on having faith. The best was the testimony meeting - the missionaries who will be leaving this transfer or next had the opportunity to bear their testimonies and they were so powerful. Some highlights:
Sister Armistead: "I have been changed into a new creature. Turn to Heavenly Father, live the doctrine of Christ, and change."
Elder Kennedy (one of my ZL's who we share a ward with) talked about something that has helped him throughout his mission that his dad told him the day he left: "Someone woke up in Oklahoma this morning, and they have no idea that my son is coming to save their life."
I just felt like an empty glass when I went into this conference, and by the time it was over, I felt completely full of joy, of love, of fire, of the Spirit! This gospel and my testimony are a part of me, not separate things. The knowledge of who I am has BECOME who I am, if that makes sense.
Then there was the music. At the end of the conference, we all sang a bunch of Christmas songs in the chapel, and then we had musical numbers. One district sang "The First Noel" in English and Spanish; Sister Richins and her comp sang "O Holy Night;" Sister Armistead brought a guitar and did an incredible arrangement of "Come Thou Fount;" Elder Powley (my other ZL) played Jon Schmidt's "I Saw Three Ships;" one companionship sang an INCREDIBLE A Capella version of "Silent Night;" and I played "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" on the harp. That was a cool experience. I guess a bunch of the missionaries didn't see me bring it in, so when I went up and picked it up from behind the sacrament table, there was a big "Whoa!" And you know how practice performances are generally better than actual performances? This one wasn't. It was the best I'd ever played, and the Spirit was so strong. I'm so grateful for the ability I have to bear my testimony through music.
Then, yesterday, my first day in Quail Creek Ward, the WHOLE THING was music. The members had brought together several musical numbers, and so during sacrament meeting and Sunday school.... oh it was just lovely. And then in RS, the lesson was on member missionary work! The lesson was taught by a recent convert in the ward, and so that was powerful, and Sister Johnson and I testified the heck out of these ladies to let them know the power and influence they have.
Oh, everyone, I just have to tell you how grateful I am for all of you. This work doesn't go on without you. You have more power than you realize. You hold the truth of the ONE AND ONLY true gospel of Jesus Christ - what a blessing. It's the greatest gift you can give.
I love you. Merry Christmas.
P.S. At the Conference, one missionary came up and talked about being shot at (don't worry, he's okay, only a ricochet piece in his hand) and then Sis Walkenhorst got up after and said, "Hahaha the Indians got him!" And everyone who knows sister Johnson turned around to look at her and she just laughed. So now we joke all the time that she shoots people. So I guess I better watch out... hahaha
P.P.S. "And Tiny Tim... Who did NOT die..." hahaha I laugh about that all day long! I know, I think I'm funnier than I actually am.